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Fendi RTW Fall 2023

Kim Jones found inspiration close to home: the insouciant chic of Delfina Delettrez Fendi, and his last haute couture collection.

No clean sweep for him: Since Day One, Kim Jones recognized all the riches at his disposal at Fendi: its formidable ateliers; the staggering archive documenting 54 years of fur and ready-to-wear design by the great Karl Lagerfeld, and a clutch of very stylish women from the founding, aristocratic Roman family.

Delfina Delettrez Fendi is perhaps the chicest of them all, having access to the wardrobe of her chic mother, Silvia Venturini Fendi, and mixing everything with insouciance. (Incidentally, she was among “professionals” named to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List in 2016.)

Jones vividly remembers the brown and pale blue outfit Delettrez Fendi wore the day he started at Fendi, which she told him she sourced from a shop in Rome that stocks clothes for nuns. The British designer reprised that color combo for Fendi’s fall collection, in which a punk spirit added an off-kilter zing to tony Italian chic.

“She’s a sophisticated working mother that lives her life, and enjoys life,” Jones said of Delettrez Fendi, but he could have also been describing the Fendi customer. “I love her as a person and she inspires me,” he added.

Again, he could have been talking about the customer: The designer keeps close tabs on what’s selling, and so he focused on those three categories — knitwear, dresses and tailoring — sticking to long, slender silhouettes disrupted with asymmetric cutting here; some slashes and harness-like straps there.

Color-blocked intarsia knits, to which Jones occasionally added coiling rows of snap closures, were interpreted from two Lagerfeld collections, from 1981 and 1996.

Jones also drew several themes from his spring 2023 haute couture collection for Fendi, including the body-skimming shapes, the lingerie elements, and the fluttering capes, here tacked to the shoulders of black satin gowns with scooped necklines and draped fronts.

He reprised his cashmere couture coats lined with shimmering sequins. You can probably knock a few zeros off the price for the rtw versions, but they were equally alluring.

All his slim coats were strong statement makers, whether in caramel-colored Persian lamb, off-white shearling or gray flannel.

The set was as minimal as the clothes: a tunnel of light reminiscent of a mesmerizing John Galliano show in 2009.

As usual, the collection was a team effort. Venturini Fendi, artistic director of accessories and menswear collections, debuted the new shape-shifting Multi bag, which transforms from a bucket shape to a shopper tote thanks to a system of magnets.

Meanwhile, Delettrez Fendi, in her role as jewelry creative director, interpreted the double-F logo, which Lagerfeld had sketched back in 1967, as a metallic object that locks on the ear.


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